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Knitting

Lifelines

I haven’t tried the pomegranate thing yet. And apparently I’ve been on some sort of blogging hiatus. So what has been going on for the last 4-5 months?

Well, let’s see. Celiac disease for one thing. So simply figuring out what’s “safe” to eat and shopping and avoiding contamination in my own kitchen have taken an incredible amount of extra time and effort. But it’s getting easier.

Daughter’s wedding. She lives in Northern California and is getting married among the Redwoods in September! I made her wedding dress. It’s in the mail, literally. So I’m anxiously waiting to hear if it fits. That project has taken up some time, and I felt so honored that she asked me to do it.

With all that going on, I do still make it to my Saturday knitting group at Black Bear Crossing on the Lake. This is an open-to-anybody knitting group (we actually also welcome crocheters, spinners, all of it). We meet every Saturday on the second floor of the Pavilion. It’s a pretty spot right on Como Lake, with good parking, plenty of seating, good light, a little restaurant on site … and even live music! If you’re interested, just drop by. Total lack of structure but there’s usually someone there from 10-noon or so. No dues, no commitments, no membership roster, all ages, genders, persuasions and fiber passions welcome. We’d love to see some new faces, and some old friends who haven’t been there in a while.

I’ve managed to finish a couple pairs of socks, nothing earth-shattering. I need to take pictures and add them to my Projects list in Ravelry. That gives such a good record of what has been done. I love Ravelry.

I’ve been working on a little lace shawlette that has gone on a while and has me slightly crazy. (Thank heaven for lifelines!)

Weeks can pass without doing any work on it, then when I pick it up I can’t remember where I am, or knit the wrong row. Ugh! I’ve had to pull back to the lifeline a time or two, so lifelines: a very good thing to use!

Big Brown Bag

I’ve been trying to do some stash-busting so made the Big Brown Bag (designed by Laura Irwin and published in Boutique Knits) from some yarn I’ve had around for a while. It’s wasn’t the best yarn choice, though. It’s a little “hairy” and didn’t felt as completely as I would have liked because there’s a tiny bit of I think acrylic in it.

Felted Bag

I gave it a full lining with a couple of slip-pockets and a couple of zippers, plus a clip to hang keys.

Felted Bag

I wasn’t able to locate the exact “hardware” she suggests so had to come up with alternatives. It’s a great pattern, though, and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Fiber Trends felted clogs

One of the all-time best patterns, and one just about every knitter is familiar with, is Bev Galeskas’ Felted Clogs, published by Fiber Trends (and available in both adult and children’s sizes as a download from Ravelry).

Andrea knitted a pair of these for herself a few years ago, loved them and wore them out.  So I gathered together bits and pieces of Cascade 220 I had left over from other projects and this is what I came up with.  (Those are her feet, so the fit is probably … perfect?)

FiberTrends felted clogs

I love stash-buster projects that work out this well.

Professor Jack

Andrea went through her stash a while back and gave me some great leftover yarn. I used it to make her little guy the Trellis baby sweater (pattern by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff).

I had enough left over to improvise a little hat for him.

Such a little intellectual, and only two months old!

2012 Knitting Calendar

Last year I participated in a spinning challenge through one of the many Ravelry groups. The idea was to take 4 ounces of fiber purchased from one of the sponsoring fiber stores (Splunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn or Southern Cross Fibre), spin it and knit it into an original creation. It was a competition, with prizes. I did not win. The winner was Sweetgum by Stacey Simpson Duke.

But I was happy with my yarn and my finished product, so I submitted it (called the Lacy Girly-Girl Poncho) for publication in the 2012 Knitting Calendar. And it was accepted! No prize, but I did get a free copy of the calendar. And the surprise of seeing it on the back cover.

2012 Knitting Calendar

Yea me! Yea Andrea for taking the photo! Yea Eva for being oh so cute!

If you like the pattern but don’t want to buy the calendar to get it, you can download it here.

New Baby

Jack Nathaniel, born 5/16/2011

Jack Nathaniel

There’s nothing to compare with grandchildren! Here’s his first knitted baby gift from grandma,

Knitted pig

presented to him by his big sister during introductions at the hospital.

Jack Nathaniel

Group hug at home,

Jack Nathaniel

and a sweet kiss from Mom.

Jack Nathaniel

And Hello 2011

It’s hard to believe we’re already three weeks into 2011.  I’ve been sort of down and out for the last two weeks with cold-gone-to-pneumonia.  I’m feeling much better now, and even did a little updating of things in Ravelry yesterday. 

I have nothing at all on needles at the moment (not sure how that happened).  Must-do projects include something for grandson-on-the-way, and finishing my Shapeshifter pattern.  And the earflap cap pattern. 

I gave Eva her skirt and knee-highs outfit for her birthday last Sunday. The outfit included a Hello Kitty jean jacket, with jeweled buttons and Hello Kitty herself on the back done in jewels.  She loved it and it through the remainder of the gift-opening.  She’s a real princess, a girly-girl. 

Outfit, including Hello Kitty jean jacket

But she was also thrilled with Thomas the Train add-ons to her Christmas gift from her uncle.  So maybe she’s not 100% girly-girl after all!

4! Oz! Challenge

A Ravelry group was started two months ago called 4! Ounce! Challenge! The challenge was to spin up 4 oz. of handpainted roving from one of three participating merchants (Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn and Southern Cross Fibre), write an original pattern, knit and publish the pattern, and submit it to the Challenge to win, what else, some roving! And to complete the task before September 30th.

I’m not an expert spinner by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, much of what I’ve spun over the years would fall under the tongue-in-cheek moniker “designer yarn” (wink, wink). But I thought, “Well, why not? Sounds fun.”
My 4 ounces of roving …

Sumac

… spun up to around 240 yards of thick-and-thin singles. As you can see, I spin a little on the tight side.

Sumac

To release some of the spin and get a softer, warmer, more neutral single, I sent it back through the wheel in a Z-twist, sort of massaging it into a nice soft thick-and thin yarn.

Sumac

I don’t have a “real” gauge to measure wraps/inch, and even if I did, I’m not sure how to get a meaningful estimate on a thick-and-thin yarn. I had a couple people give me their counts, and they came up with different numbers. So I tried to find a sort of uniformly spun bit, and going off that I’d say it’s about 10 wpi. You can judge for yourself.

Sumac

Also, to be able to suggest a commercial equivalent, I knitted the stitch pattern of the poncho in Noro Aya. I used the same needles for both. I’m not sure that tells us anything terribly useful, but in picking a commercial yarn, something like the Noro Aya should be pretty close. Aya is given a weight of worsted with 9 wpi, and knits 20 stitches/4 inches on US No. 8 needles, according to the ball band.
Side-by-side of handspun and Noro Aya
I just love the long color runs in the Noro yarn which also happens to pool in a way similar to the handspun I made, which is another reason to like the Noro as a commercial option.
Well, there you have it. Yes, I know all these photos are over-kill but I couldn’t decide on just one … she’s so c-u-t-e!







If you’re a Ravelry member, check out all the cool patterns and yarn people did in response to this challenge by searching Projects for the tag 4ozchallenge.

Can Christmas be far away?

Now that the air has taken on the chill of Fall, I’m thinking about Christmas again. I get an email now and then from someone who recognizes the vintage Holiday Stocking I re-created for a friend and posted as a free pattern. Here are some suggestions for the stocking from a lady I heard from recently:

The pattern came as a kit nearly 30 years ago. I don’t remember where I ordered it from, though. Over the years I’ve made more than a dozen stockings from that pattern for friends, and family.
My pattern calls for sequins around the box that Santa is jumping from and for the tree on the back of the stocking. Santa’s hat also has a pom-pom on the end and his beard is of mohair. I have, on a couple of stockings, put the recipient’s initials in the box that Santa is jumping out of. I’ve used two strands of fun fur for Santa’s beard and trimmed it short to resemble a furry beard, added white seed beads for snow, made the box different colors, put “patches” on Santa’s suit, and one Santa’s suit and hat were “smudged” with “soot.” (I used just a touch of black paint and rubbed it to create a smudge.) For my granddaughter’s stocking I went all out with beads, sequins, ribbons, furry beard, smudging – and I lined it. I think you would agree it is quit gaudy.

I’m really hoping she sends me a photo of that “gaudy” stocking (or any others, for that matter). I’d love to post any photos of people’s versions of this stocking here, and with the pattern on Ravelry.
(Thank you, Brenda, for letting me share your ideas here.)

Haute couture

Years ago I knitted an oversized sweater using skeins and skeins of expensive Noro. The fit was “generous” to start with, and knitted loosely, using large needles. A throw-it-on-over-anything sweater. But it elongated and elongated and elongated with each wearing, until the body was so long I couldn’t reach to the bottom of the pockets with my arms held straight down, and I had to roll the sleeves up in huge cuffs.
I thought, “Well, what do I have to lose? I’ll just wash it and see what happens.” To make a long story short, I succeeded in seriously felting it.
Now, you just can’t throw away that many dollars-worth of Noro. (I can’t anyway.) I packed it away and forgot all about it for years. Then during a serious de-junking frenzy last Fall, I ran across it. I still couldn’t just throw it away. It was, after all, nice felt … surely it could be used to make a purse or hat or something.
Then serendipity happened. I was at Marshall’s, just trolling for bargains. I saw a charcoal sweater. Actually, it wasn’t the sweater that caught my eye, it was the detachable collar.
I wish I had a photo of the sweater before the felting so you could see how really huge it was. But here it is after felting.

Felted jacket - Before

I put the collar next to it, and color-wise and size-wise, it was a match. But when I put it on the sweater (now a felted jacket in my eyes), it was still sort of … strange. So I got out the scissors and did a little trimming …
I cut the pockets loose from the side seams and turned the whole jacket inside-out so the cut edge would be inside, just like an ordinary side seam.
One sleeve was longer than the other, so I trimmed about ¾ inch off the longer arm.
And tried this… and that …

Felted jacket Felted jacket

And after some rounding and softening of cut edges of what used to be the pockets, ended up with a sort of a double-breasted buckled look.

Felted jacket - After Felted jacket - After (left open) Felted jacket

Thank you, Miss Lucy. You look quite smashing, and it’s definitely one-of-a-kind!